Filing Procedures (San Francisco)

To supplement the local rules, the following guidelines have been provided to ensure that the filing process is accomplished with ease and accuracy. For additional information or assistance, please call the Clerk's Office during office hours.

  1. Manually filed documents are filed in the Clerk’s Office at the location of the chambers of the judge to whom the action has been assigned. We do not accept filings for cases assigned to judges or magistrate judges in the Oakland or San Jose division, per Civil Local Rule 3-2(b).  
  2. This office will accept for filing the original and one copy of most documents submitted. The original will be scanned and filed in the electronic format. The hard copy will be disposed of in civil cases. We will conform as many copies as you bring for your own use. Related cases require an extra copy for each related action designated.
  3. The copy submitted with the original goes directly to the assigned Judge. No additional copies for the judge should be provided, unless you have been instructed to do so by court order.
  4. To facilitate the file stamping process, each original document must be submitted on top of its copies. In other words; group like documents together, as opposed to a set of originals and separate sets of copies.
  5. The case number must indicate whether it is a civil or criminal matter by the inclusion of C or CR at the beginning of the number. Miscellaneous and foreign judgment matters should also be indicated with initials MISC at the end of the case number. The case number must include the initials of the judge and/or magistrate judge.
  6. Documents containing hearing dates should include the appropriate judge or magistrate judge involved in a particular matter or before whom an appearance is being made. This is especially important when submitting Settlement Conference Statements.
  7. Documents are to be stapled or acco-fastened at the top. Backings, bindings and covers are not required. Two holes punched at the top of the original document will facilitate processing.
  8. Appropriately sized, stamped, self-addressed return envelopes are to be included with proposed orders or when filing documents by mail.
  9. Proofs of service should be attached to the back of documents. If submitted separately, you must attach a pleading page to the front of the document showing case number and case caption.
  10. There are no filing fees once a case has been opened, aside from the fee for a Notice of Appeal.
  11. New cases must be accompanied by a completed and signed Civil Cover Sheet, the filing fee or fee waiver request form and an original plus two copies of the complaint and any other documents. For Intellectual Property cases, please provide an original plus three copies of the complaint. Present new cases for filing before 3:30 p.m.
  12. Copies of forms may be obtained at no charge. They may be picked up in person from the Clerk’s Office or with a written request accompanied by an appropriate sized, stamped, self-addressed envelope for return. In addition, copies of the Local Rules may be obtained, free of charge, in the Clerk’s Office or by sending a written request, along with a self-addressed, 10" x 14" return envelope, stamped with $7.50 postage to: Clerk, U.S. District Court, 450 Golden Gate Avenue, 16th Flr. San Francisco CA, 94102.
  13. Two computer terminals that allow public access to case dockets and information regarding files at the Federal Records Center (FRC) are located in the reception area of the Clerk’s Office. Written instructions are posted by the terminals. Outside of the Clerk’s Office, electronic access to dockets is available through PACER ( To obtain information or to register call 1-800-676-6851.
  14. A file viewing area is located adjacent to the reception area. Files may be viewed in this area after signing the log sheet and presenting identification.  Under no circumstances are files to be removed from the viewing room. (Hours for San Francisco are 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.)
  15. The Clerk’s Office can only accept payment by exact change, check or credit card, made payable to Clerk, U.S. District Court. No change can be made for fees or the public copy machine.
  16. A coin/card operated copy machine is located in the file viewing area for public use, at twenty-five cents ($.25) per page. Personal copiers may be brought in at anytime during normal operating hours.
  17. Drop Boxes for filing are available when the Clerk's Office is closed.